Courtesy Extra MediumWe live in exciting times. If I knew how to spell “exciting” I would write it out, letter by letter, just to emphasize how exciting these times are. E X I T I N G.
F A Y L Y U R.
Who among us hasn’t sat at home as a child, listening to Wagner, wishing that Vikings still existed, or even, perhaps, that we might have our own little Viking…
But farewell my little Viking—thems is dreams, just dreams.
Or are thems? Is thems?
The Danes, you see, have had their scientists hard at work, scouring the earth for viable Viking DNA. Their first thought was to mine archaeological sites for petrified Viking beard dreadlocks, with the hope that somewhere inside might be preserved ticks, full of rich Viking blood. This idea was quickly abandoned, however, on account of its being “indskrænket.”
The geneticists then considered a much simpler solution: getting dirty in a Viking grave. Using teeth from a thousand year old Viking burial on the Danish Island of Funen, the scientists were able to obtain “authentic Viking DNA!”
The world is changing! Can you feel it? It’s like sitting in a warming hot tub!
Soon we will be able to observe real cloned Vikings! Just think…we’ll finally know if their helmets really were horny…we could even have a Viking theme park on an island (I’m thinking Funen). I think it could work!
Some might argue that the point of this research had nothing at all to do with cloning Vikings, or cloning at all. They would probably point out that retrieving ancient human DNA is notoriously fraught with complications involving modern genetic contamination, as well as simply finding fully intact DNA molecules (fill the gaps in the Viking DNA with frog genes. Duh). They might also say that analyzing ancient DNA can tell us about the origins of diseases, human migration patterns, and tribal and family organizations not recorded by history.
Yawn. Wake me up when they mention “pet Viking.”
The Danish researchers collected and analyzed the DNA in meticulously controlled situations, wearing full body suits and facemasks during collection and using sterilized tubes for transport of the specimens back to the lab. A wise move, I think—if the samples were contaminated, just think about the monstrosity that could emerge from the cloning procedure that is sure to come: a Viking/Danish hybrid. It would be like The Fly, I bet.